Tag Archive: Satanyanko

Dark WatersWith the growing interest of Japanese Gothic music over the watered-down Visual Kei (which is still often mistaken as Japanese Goth), so too has the number and quality of Gothic music releases increased. Perhaps the best way to get into this exciting avenue of the Japanese underground scene is through omnibuses of leading artists in the scene.

Dark Waters, released in late 2006, does an admiral job of introducing the world to JGoth by featuring a compilation featuring 12 artists in Japan. The tracks run the gamut from harsh electro-industrial and EBM to death rock and hardcore industrial. This is the first time for all the songs to be on CD, with a number of purely new tracks and those that were only available in CD-R format at events.

The label, Deathwatch Asia, is based in Osaka and through connections in Tokyo and Nagoya has resulted in a nation-wide mix of artists. This ensures a healthy cross-section of Goth-industrial music from throughout Japan. This album is perfect for anybody seeking a broad view of the true Gothic scene in Japan.

The album starts with a hard industrial beats from 2 Bullet’s Drain People’s Blood (Cold War Remix). This is followed hard electronic industrial Satanic Panzer Unit (SOTF Remix). The third song is a very danceable remix of Agent Murder’s Ballet of the Unhatched Fools. Psycho Dream’s self-titled track mixes traditional sounds and beats with heavy guitar riffs all backed by the soft vocals of the lead singer. This is followed by the soft rock ballad of Satanyanko’s Little Abandoned Cat in the Dark (sadly this quickly maturing group broke up shortly after this recording), probably the best track on the album.

The next song on the menu was Jet Pepper Tower’s Nocturnal Cabaret, and this straight rock piece jagged against the other tracks on the CD. It would be great on a J-Rock compilation. The CD got back into order with the next track from Baal, a downright scary piece of cybernetic electronicka and industrial noise with a powerful femme voice leading the action. The next track was an ultra-heavy industrial grindcore of Despair’s Junk War (Riot Command Mix). This leads into an inspiring self-titled, heavy rock-industrial piece from Destruct System.

This was followed by the fine electro-Euro-friendly-beat Death Wish from Sins of the Flesh. The next track was a fun tongue-in-cheek electro-slash called Bad Movie Disco King from Aural Vampire. The CD finished with the electro-rock Future by Future from Speecies.

Being in Japan I have had access to a number of the songs on CD-R or seen the live versions, but the CD was still very fresh to listen to. There were a couple of tracks that I did not like, one that really should not have been on a Goth CD, but in general it was a great selection of tracks. On the technical side all the recordings were professional, crisp and clear.

The price is also amazing – just 1,500 yen in Japan, or 10 Euros for over 60 minutes of a very fresh music scene – making this a great item to get for someone into J-music styles or international Goth or if you are just looking for a new sound to love!

Dark WatersDark Waters Track List
1. 2Bullet :: Drain People’s Blood (Cold War Remix) – 5.23
2. Demonoid 13 :: Satanic Panzer Unit (Sins Of The Flesh Remix) – 6.38
3. Agent Murder :: Ballet Of The Unhatched Fools (Re-Hatched) – 4.03
4. Psycho Dream :: Psycho Dream – 3.31
5. Satanyanko :: Little Abandoned Cat In The Dark – 3.48
6. Jet Pepper Tower :: Nocturnal Cabaret – 7.31
7. Baal :: On The Surface 2006 (Start The New Brutal) – 6.08
8. Despair :: Junk War (Riot Command Remix) – 3.07
9. Destruct System :: Destruct System – 3.44
10. Sins of the Flesh Death Wish (Mayan Sacrifice Mix) – 6.15
11. Aural Vampire :: Bad Movie Disco King – 5:18
12. Speecies :: Future By Future – 4.42
Total time: 60:17

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Germany was assaulted by Japanese Goth earlier this month when six bands (plus Igor and his ferret, Truffle), got inside the country’s third largest Goth magazine. Pictures, interviews and song samples all made their way into Astan Magazine. One band had already forged ahead with the magazine – Aural Vampire. The other five and Igor (and yes, Truffle too) worked with the magazine to give it exactly what it wanted… a taste Japan’s true underground! 2 Bullet, Baal, Despair, Satanyanko, Sins of the Flesh all feature heavily in the magazine and represent a major step forward in taking Japanese Goth to the world!

Too often overseas magazines rely upon the easier-to-access Gothic Lolita fashions and Visual Kei music scene to characterize Japan’s underground. I know there are a lot of people who like the VK sounds and there are some pretty cool VK acts. However, what about the GOTHS?! While other magazines are still satisfied by following the Mana-quins, this magazine took a big roll of the dice to give international coverage to a scene little known and rarely talked about in the media (well except here).

The result? Pages and pages dedicated to some of the hottest bands lurking in the dark corners of Tokyo and Osaka. Words from the artists. Pictures of the artists. A PICTURE OF TRUFFLE! Plus gob-loads of true Japanese underground mixed into the magazine’s CD. This is truly a HOLY SHIT! moment. These awesome bands are OUT THERE!!

To the people who supported this – Thank you.

A special thank you to Blood’s Kiwamu who answered a lot of questions I had.

* Special bonus *
Somewhere between zero and three of these bands will be hitting Germany in October.

Igor’s SkunkWerx#1 :: October 2005 ~ March 2006 :: 100% complete… NEXT!

Castle-master, Genet, took TDC to a new level with the best mix of live Goth-flavorings yet!

Despite the Osakan invasion from Midnight Necropolis, the Goths were out in force @ TDC and they were the best-dressed, most-dressed Goth’s I have seen. The crowd was larger than the last two events and the punters had decked themselves out in costumes you wouldn’t believe… except Igor, who’s really just a nerdy dreg capable of sleeping in a dumpster when required. But I digress.

Execution of tonight’s event was superb. Past TDCs have been great, but TDC 13 was just damned slick. All the sets were nailed tight and the night moved with a feline grace. This level of quality shows TDC as a true international-class underground event that SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. There should be tours for this.

Gaijin invasion
Between the regulars, the irregulars, the new arrivals, and an Australian guy with a very big camera, the foreigners were a major minority @ TDC 13 and the gaijin/local mix looked fantastic. Maybe around 20 or so exquisitely dressed and painted Gothic gaijin were igniting the landscape throughout the night.

There are good bands out there that will never get a night at Tokyo Dark Castle, but TDC is the quality-assurance sticker for Japan’s Goth scene. Any band making it to TDC is worth seeing – not only at TDC, but wherever they play. So, if you’re looking for some J-Goth and not sure where to look then you can’t go wrong with the bands who have done a tour or two of the Castle.

Tonight’s bands were on fire. Hell, they were infernos from start to finish. No flubs, no anarchic over-runs, no worried looks, just plug it in and rip through the f*cking set. It was a Hell Yeah, kind of night folks.

These Osakans were back for revenge after their first blooding in Tokyo saw them stuck in a distinctly non-Goth club event. Taking the first slot Satanyanko let rip from the start. The band has forged itself into a moody, lively punk group who work the stage with aplomb. It was great to see the axes getting it on and lead-kitty Rie-nyan putting out some great femme angst in her vocals.

Auto-Mod with Tamaki Carmilla
Tonight’s set was driven hard like a rivet to the forehead. True veterans of the business, Auto-Mod know their craft and can deliver any night of the week, but tonight they were playing like a band possessed. Great dark rock sounds from the Goth-Daddy and his crew. It’s sad to note that tonight was Tamaki Carmilla’s last performance with the band – her dark femme voice added an extra dimension to the band.

Destruct System
It’s great to finally hear these guys as I’ve heard such good things about them. They had a lot of aggression going from the start and were obviously seasoned performers – very smooth delivery of the hard stuff. I bet they must have been shocked by the foreign gothers madly seeking to buy their CD (selling CDs is usually a very tough part of the business).

Cut the Crap
Igor was too busy socializing outside to catch these guys, but when the other Gaijin came out they were totally fucking pumped. Why? The tiny bassist had blew them to bits. Man, why do I always miss out on the legendary bits? Now, I have just got to get my ass to one of their gigs. More CD hunting could be seen after their set.

Oh, these guys know how to work the crowd during a set. The veteran Glam-gothers from Osaka got going at a nice pace, then cranked it up to another level mid-way through the set. Good sound throughout and the mid-set ignition was great.

Ah, it was time to enjoy the more ambient/classical sounds of Selia. Truly a siren of the night, Selia had all sitting to appreciate a voice that could make you cry…

Unfortunately, my night drew to an early close thanks to a phone call. After a quick exit to take the call, Igor found himself talking to some drunk who had the wrong number. The drunk was looking for his friend, but ended up befriending Igor and scoring himself an impromptu English lesson in the process…. Alas, the wind was taken from my sails, my wings were clipped. It was such a shame as I was looking to catch…

I missed them (DAMN!), but let me just do a short spiel, because they are one hot electro-industrial band with a mad dose of sex appeal. They do a mighty set working a slick delivery style into their sounds and building the energy the whole way through. Definitely worth catching wherever they play. Sorry Andro!

Ah, a lovely night. ‘Twas a pity it was cut short by that most peculiar phone call…

Tokyo Dark Castle #14 :: October 29
This takes place on Halloween and you know what that means?! A Goth parade through the streets of Shibuya before the night kicks off! The event promises to be just as good, or even better than TDC 13 and will be the second last TDC of the year. Check Tokyo Dark Castle.

Goth it wasn’t, but it was kind of fun – though I was frustrated at the mix. Six bands were up, but I missed the first. Face it, if there are six bands, the lead-off is going to be like Christians being served up to the lions. The only gothers I saw there were the players, support and a couple of guys doing the marketing rounds for TDC at the end of April. I was the only hakujin in the audience so I decided to forget my pre-conceptions grab my beer and enjoy whatever the hell was going to happen.

To be brutally honest, the audience wasn’t out there, if you know what I mean. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to decking out in black, seeing people who are a bit beyond normal, hearing some serious freaking noise, and going mad myself (or just brooding for effect), but it wasn’t happening on the night.

By the time I rocked up, band number two, Area, were into their set. Not a bad little group. They have obviously done the club circuit for many years and were quite polished. Bit of funk, grunt and psychodelia from the 60s/70s/early 80s, which was probably when the singer started up his career. The songs were fairly general crowd-pleasers, but they pulled off their set with aplomb. When the singer and bass started doing a bit of comedy and (gasp) party magic, I suddenly felt like I walked into a variety club. Don’t get me wrong – all the witty reparte was quite funny and got giggles from the audience – but it wasn’t eventin’ like I imagined.

Third band up was a young group, who may have been the lions’ second course. They started with their own little J-Pop tunes… ‘nuf said there. The second half of their act was a lot better as they loosened up, dropped the softer stuff and got a bit of their funk on. Might be interesting to see them in the future.

Satanyanko got the fourth slot, which is not a bad place to be for a young band on their first trip to Tokyo, but with a definitely un-Goth crowd and the band’s feline angle it was a bit difficult to get the synchronocity going. Lead singstress Rie was great as an evil little kitty cat on stage and the axe-grinders were good – pulling out some pretty lively punk sounds. To be honest, I would have liked to see the guitars getting more front time – the bassist was damnable sexy when she got the bass low and started grinding out the tune and the lead came up to the front of the stage a few times. They did well, but give them a Goth audience and they should go off!

Strawberry Song Orchestra could be described as Kabuki-Goth orchestral. A nine person troupe combining theater with some really heavy grock from the lead guy in a black hat and trenchcoat. I lost the set’s plot pretty early on, but it was very good stuff. It looked as though a big part of the audience were actually waiting for this group and that is very understandable – they may have a Gothic/dark orientation, but the connection with more traditional Japanese theatrics and a cool performance would have a pretty broad appeal, Goth or not.

The final set was done by a general caberet-like group. Lots of fun, lots of audience participation – Igor scored himself a tequila onstage – and generally fun. The members were very sure of themselves and it was good. Entertaining, but not my usual cup of tea.

Being a good little Gother, I picked up a Strawberry Song Orchestra CD and the Satanyanko/SSO split CD, a Satanyanko badge (now that is cool and will be firmly attached to Igor’s daywalker business bad!), and a couple of stickers to deface my office with.

All in all it was a fun night, but a little awkward in terms of thematics. Young J-Pop, older pub rock band, neo-punk, dark theatrical and tarento-styled finish. If I was coming from a generalist perspective, looking to hear a range of bands that are out there, then this would have been the kind of deal I’d go to. I’d like what I like, and be appreciative of all the acts. For someone looking for a particular thematic focus (be it Goth, punk, cabaret or club acts), it was less satisfying. I guess I’m saying I left full (especially after that damned tequila), but not satiated. As I wasn’t in sync with most of the crowd I felt a bit out of place. Planning-wise I prefered the likes of Jail League, organized by Auto-Mod, which had different themes (thrash, hard rock, cat fight, amateur wrestling, metal with lively Goth at the end), a small contingent of obvious Gothers, but it all melded as the groups’ styles and the audience were all a lot more interconnected and everyone went nuts.

In terms of the Gothers from Osaka, I enjoyed them both. The cat-loving satanists have got the right stuff for a Goth/punk/mad youth audience and that’s where I want to hear them. The Strawberry Song Orchestra is a pretty freaky group that would go well in many types of event.